Defra has confirmed that Biodiversity Net Gain will go live on 12 February 2024, in a bid to boost nature and local communities.
The requirement for 10% Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) on large developments was due to come into force in November, but will now apply for planning applications made on or after 12 February for residential developments with 10 or more dwellings, or where the site area is greater than 0.5 hectares.
BNG for small sites will have an extended transition period and will apply from 2 April 2024.
Country Land and Business Association President Victoria Vyvyan said:
“Biodiversity net gain is an important policy to support ambitions for nature recovery and it is right that any development or infrastructure project should make up for any biodiversity losses.
“There is still work to do to fully establish the market for biodiversity units, with a need for greater transparency and more standard contracts to reduce the transaction costs.
“BNG is rightly encouraged to go onsite, but the CLA would also like to see a greater emphasis on offsite provision, which can be provided by landowners in the local area to help reconnect habitats over the landscape.”
The CLA is working with Future Homes Hub and launched a biodiversity unit finder to register offsite units to provide transparency. Landowners can register units and land on the Biodiversity Unit Finder Map.
What is a 'small' development site?
Small site development includes:
- Residential development where the number of dwellings is between 1 and 9, or if unknown the site area is less than 0.5 hectares.
- Commercial development where floor space created is less than 1,000 square metres or the total site area is less than 1 hectare.